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Fixing The Most Common Woes Of The 6.0 Diesel

When Ford introduced the 6.0L Power Stroke diesel in 2003, it was revolutionary in design, and offered more power with lower emissions. However, it began to show signs of being temperamental and had some reliability issues that resulted in a bad reputation. The truth is that many of these issues were addressed by the factory in later model years, and the aftermarket was also quick to offer solutions. Truth be told, if you own a 6.0 Power Stroke-equipped Ford truck, there are solutions for all of the potential issues, and a few simple upgrades can add reliability and extend the service life of your 6.0 Power Stroke for years to come. 

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The “Complete Solution” kit from MKM Customs (aka Sinister Diesel) 6.0L Ford Power Stroke diesel includes everything needed to fix all the major issues found with the 6.0L diesel. All kit parts are OEM quality or better. Included are a replacement EGR cooler and Black Diamond 18mm dowel head gaskets from Sinister Mfg. Company, and Ford OEM exhaust gaskets for the rest of the upgrade. An ARP head stud set, updated oil cooler kit with new screen, and a Ford factory turbo hardware/O-ring kit are also included.

1 Believe it or not, the factory service manual says to raise the body to service the heads and more on Ford 6.0L-equipped trucks. With this much open space, disassembling the engine and removing the heads is much easier.

Sinister Diesel offers a “Complete Solutions” kit for the 6.0L Power Stroke diesel. It contains the parts required to address the most common woes of the 6.0 in one package. APR head bolts and factory head gaskets help address blown head gaskets on high-mile rigs. Since the factory head bolts are Torque To Yield units that must be replaced anytime the heads are removed, the cost of the ARP studs is well worth the added reliability they provide. A new updated oil cooler and oil cooler screen kit bring your engine up to the latest version available. Best of all, a newly designed EGR cooler that offers better flow than the OEM part is standard with this kit. When delving this deep, you’ll also be taking off the heads, and new OEM-quality head gaskets are included too. For our head work, Bud’s Diesel provided a top quality set of remanufactured heads, sending our old units in as cores to be rebuilt for someone else’s 6.0.

2 Once the intake and heads have been removed, the oil filter and cooler housing can be taken off the top of the block. The oil well is cleaned and ready for the new parts.

3 Once the heads are off, the top of the block face must be cleaned to ensure proper seating of the new head gaskets. Be sure to clean out the cylinders before reinstalling the heads.

4 Here you can see a comparison between the stock head bolt (lower) and the ARP head studs (upper). The factory head bolts are Torque To Yield or TTY bolts. They stretch during head install and are replaced every time the heads come off. APR head studs do not stretch, are reusable and form a tighter seal than the factory-style bolts. The result is more reliable head gasket sealing and longer motor life.

5 It’s proven that the head gaskets for the Ford 6.0L engine are subject to blowing out. This can be due to stretched head bolts or the use of inferior aftermarket gaskets. Sinister uses only the premium OEM or better head gaskets in their kits to ensure long life.

6 When installing your heads, it’s possible for old manifold bolts to fracture and leave a stub in the mounting holes. It’s not uncommon to find a few broken bolts in the exhaust flange of the 6.0 heads. A screw extractor is required to remove these, and this must be done outside the truck. A set of remanufactured heads should come to you clean, but your old bolts can still break off in the reconditioned heads. Chase the holes with a tap first, and use caution when installing the bolts.

7 The OEM oil cooler on the 6.0 Ford is a liquid to liquid unit. It sits on the top of the block in a valley. Early units are subject to clogging, due to internal passages that have been determined to be too small. The Sinister Complete Solutions kit comes with the latest oil cooler that has larger passages and thicker internal fins. A new, updated oil cooler screen is also included.

8 The new, upgraded oil cooler is installed in the housing and reinstalled in the block valley.

9 The ARP head studs come with a small Torx head for installation. The heads are installed first, then the head studs are inserted and snugged down in the block.

10 Once all ARP head studs are in place, the heads are torqued to spec.

11 The EGR cooler in the Sinister kit is an upgrade over stock. The failure-prone honeycomb of the stock unit is replaced with stainless steel cooler tubes. The units are 100-percent leak tested before shipping and come with a lifetime warranty.

12 Here’s a tech tip for you DIY folks: use tie-wraps on the end of the hard lines to keep the nuts in place. Without this, the nuts will skip down the lines and cause you hours of trouble getting them back up to where you need them.

13 The intake manifold assembly is installed and then the turbo is installed. After this, it’s all downhill.

14 Ford recommends the cab be raised for work on the 6.0L pickups and the entire body on the 6.0L-equipped Excursions. With the motor work done, the body is lowered onto the frame and all the hoses and wires are reconnected. This is easy with a lift, but aligning the body with the frame can be a problem if you roll the chassis out to work on it in your driveway at home.

15 Here you see the turbo from our 6.0 disassembled, cleaned and inspected before reinstall. This is a standard procedure at Bud’s Diesel, but not in the factory service manual. This ensures longer life for your turbo and can give you an early warning of future turbo issues.

We performed our upgrades on a second-hand Excursion that was now a troop transporter and grocery getter for one of our team member’s family. The teardown showed that while the 6.0L engine was in fair shape, a few items were well on the way to reaching their expiration date. This preventative maintenance not only makes a tow home less likely, it also adds peace of mind on those long family trips. Follow along and we’ll show you the highlights of this upgrade mission. This is more than an afternoon’s task, and unless you have some specialty tools and a lift, you may want to consider having a great local shop undertake the task. Then you can use your vacation time enjoying your truck, rather than wrenching on it. Unless getting elbow deep in an engine is what you do to relax on vacation. DW

SOURCES:
Sinister Diesel
916-772-9253
www.sinister-diesel.com
mkmcustoms.com

Bud’s Diesel
949-297-8477
www.budsdiesel.com